The Other McCain

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NY-26 Update: New TV Ad; NRCC Gets Involved; Whither David Ballavia? UPDATE: Holy Freaking Crap! Donald Trump Now Blaming Paul Ryan?

Posted on | May 11, 2011 | 15 Comments

Lots of new developments in New York’s 26th District special election campaign since I blogged about it yesterday. First, here’s a look at that new TV ad from American Crossroads:

They’re targeting Crazy Jack Davis, the fake “Tea Party” candidate who ran three times unsuccessfully as a Democrat in 2004, 2006, and 2008. Meanwhile, in a sign of surging interest in this key race — the special election is May 24 — the national GOP is getting more directly involved on behalf of Republican Jane Corwin:

The National Republican Congressional Committee hasn’t invested in the increasingly competitive race for a vacant western New York House seat – until now.
The House GOP campaign arm has activated its independent expenditure unit, authorizing it to begin spending funds in the race, according to an NRCC official.
Unlike the NRCC itself, the committee’s independent expenditure wing does not face contribution limits in the race and can spend freely on TV, radio ads, get-out-the-vote and other election efforts. . . .
The committee has funneled $40,000 in checks from House GOP lawmakers to her campaign, and has dispatched Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions to hold in-district fundraisers for her.
The committee has also been holding nightly phone banks in support of Corwin, and is assisting her campaign with GOTV and communications efforts.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, for its part, has invested $250,000 in TV time in the race and has funneled around $100,000 to Hochul’s campaign.

Finally (and this might have been expected), disgruntled former Republican candidate David Bellavia may be prepared to endorse Davis.

Bellavia and many of his supporters felt betrayed by the GOP establishment’s choice of Corwin. This very much reminds me of the situation during the PA-12 special election a year ago, when the disgruntled Bill Russell refused to support the nominee Tim Burns.

The fortunate difference is that NY-26 is a natural Republican stronghold, whereas PA-12 was Democrat Jack Murtha’s personal fiefdom. So while Bellavia’s disaffection can hurt the GOP, it’s not nearly as disastrous as was Russell’s in the Democrat-leaning Pennsylvania district where the Republicans needed every possible break merely to be competitive. Meanwhile, there’s more big news in NY-26:

The Tea Party group FreedomWorks is mobilizing its grassroots network in New York’s 26th congressional district to “defend the Tea Party brand” against third party candidate Jack Davis, who the group is labeling “a fraud.”
FreedomWorks, led by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R), is the latest national group to get involved in the May 24 special election with polls showing a tight three way contest between Democrat Kathy Hochul, Republican Jane Corwin and Davis. . . .
“We basically feel that we need to defend the Tea Party brand,” said Brendan Steinhauser, the group’s director of federal and state campaigns, who called Davis “a fraud.”
Steinhauser said the group will coordinate with local Tea Party leaders to organize door-to-door canvassing efforts and ask its members across the country to participate in phone banking efforts targeting Davis.

Less than two weeks until the election, and this one’s turning into a real donnybrook.


UPDATE: Buffalo Democratic blogger Chris Charvella has some criticism of the American Crossroads ad that are worth reading. The rhetoric of the ad very much resembles the kind of stuff the DCCC was throwing at Republicans during the 2010 cycle.

So why do we have a conservative PAC making Democrat-style class-warfare attacks on a third-party candidate? I guess the point is to confuse further the already-confused independent voters. Maybe American Crossroads has looked at the polling numbers and figured out something about the NY-26 electorate that isn’t apparent to an outside viewer.

UPDATE II: This is just abominable:

If Republican Jane Corwin goes down in defeat in the May 24 special election in New York’s 26th congressional district, blame Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget, Donald Trump said Wednesday.
Trump, speaking in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, blamed Ryan’s budget proposal — in particular, its controversial provision to reform Medicare — for dragging Corwin into a competitive race to replace resigned Rep. Chris Lee (R).
“A very popular Republican woman is running for the office. She was expected to win easily,” Trump said in the Granite State. “She’s having a hard time defending that whole situation with Medicare.”
“Too early, too soon. There was no reason for him to do it,” he later said.

Of all the numerous problems facing Jane Corwin in NY-26, I’d guess that this is very close to being a non-factor. That’s merely a guess, of course, since I’m not in the district and just began paying attention to the campaign yesterday. But for Trump to attempt to make this about something happening in D.C., rather than something happening in the 26th District, strikes me as implausible.

Small wonder, really, that the “Trump bubble” as a potential GOP 2012 presidential candidate was so short-lived.

UPDATE III: Wow, it sure is a weird coincidence that Trump is making the exact same argument as Nancy Pelosi.

It’s almost as if Trump were . . . a Democrat, or something.


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